The COVID-19 outbreak and the lockdown restrictions that followed affected every American, but some of the hardest hit by the quarantine restrictions are the elderly individuals in memory care programs. Social distancing policies and visitation restrictions for many memory care and elder care facilities prevent loved ones from visiting their family members in person. Social interactions are important for any memory care patient, but current circumstances require protecting the safety and health of elderly individuals, who are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
If you have a loved one in a memory care program, you should know your options when it comes to keeping in touch despite physical contact restrictions. Staying connected with your loved one in memory care will make a tremendous difference in their treatment and their overall quality of life. It’s easier to do than you might expect.
Arrange Distanced Visits
In some memory care facilities, you might be able to visit in person with a few physical conditions. For example, windowed rooms may allow residents to interact with their loved ones through a window. This maintains social distancing compliance while allowing relatives and residents to see each other in person.
Some facilities may have specific visiting policies in place for outdoor areas and controllable environments. Sadly, and, at least for now, nursing homes and other assisted living facilities for elders have shut down their visiting programs to ensure residents’ safety. If physical visitation is out of the question, or if distance prevents you from visiting in person, there are several digital solutions that are easy to use.
Video calling allows you to have a long-distance conversation as if you were face-to-face. Your loved one may have a smartphone or other appropriate device of their own, or you may need to plan with their care team for scheduling video visits. In either case, video calls can be a great alternative to face-to-face interaction when lockdown restrictions prevent you from visiting your loved one in person.
Try to stick to a schedule with your video calls. Regularly timed calls will make planning easier and also provide your loved one with something to look forward to regularly, which is helpful for any memory care programs. While COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, you can still keep communication with your loved one consistent using video calling.
Try Old-Fashioned Letter Writing
Writing a letter may be something of a bygone activity but receiving a handwritten letter from someone you love is an enjoyable experience for just about anyone. Handwritten letters can also provide you with a welcome distraction as you confront your other lockdown woes. Eventually, exchanging letters could not only provide structure and comfort to your loved one but also become an enjoyable lockdown pastime for you.
Letter writing is also a great way to give your loved one in memory care photos of your kids, care packages, and other gifts and mementos that can help them feel loved and remembered during an uncertain time. If you have kids, it’s a great idea to get them involved and have them send handmade cards and gifts to their loved ones in memory care. Letters can help activate crucial brain activity, as well.
Puzzles, card games, photo books, music CDs, and movies are great gift options to send along with your handwritten letters. If you plan on sending a loved one who is in memory care a gift, it’s a good idea to have it shipped directly instead of buying it at a store and packing it up yourself. Shipping companies and distributors have instituted strict cleaning guidelines. Choosing this method of sending gifts to your loved one will reduce the chance of unintentional COVID-19 exposure.
Find the Best Memory Care Program
Ultimately, your best options for staying in touch with your loved one in memory care may come down to the memory care facility’s policies. At Rocky Mountain Assisted Living, we remain committed to providing the most comprehensive and compassionate memory care services in the face of COVID-19 restrictions. While our team is firmly dedicated to ensuring the safety of our patients, we acknowledge the value of family interaction in every memory care case. We are doing everything we can to enable safe, constructive communication between our residents and their loved ones.
If you have concerns about your loved one’s memory care, or if you need specific advice when it comes to keeping in touch with your loved one in memory care during COVID-19 lockdown, Rocky Mountain Assisted Living can help. Contact us today to learn more about the memory care services we offer and the ways we can help you stay in touch with your loved one in memory care.